Reflections on Saturn All-Up Flight Testing: Frank Williams

George Mueller, shortly after being named NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, introduced the concept of "all-up testing" to the Saturn/Apollo program. Rather than traditional method of testing rockets, which called for a slow, methodical program, testing one stage before adding another live stage, "all-up" called for a rocket comprised entirely of live stages from the very first launch.

Aerospace author Mitchell R. Sharpe wrote a paper, "Saturn and All-Up Flight Testing" for the Saturn History Project. As part of his research, Sharpe solicited input from a number of key people from the Saturn program. The paper was published in 1974, which meant that the provided recollections were still relatively fresh, from around the 10th anniversary of Mueller's "all-up testing" memo, sent to NASA center directors on October 31, 1963.

Here are comments from Frank Williams, assistant to Wernher von Braun:

February 20, 1974

NOTE FOR Mitchell R. Sharpe


The chapter on "All Up" testing for the Saturn history looks good to me. I cannot remember the details; however, my memory of the inhouse MSFC meetings, between the receipt of the Mueller TWX and the famous meeting when Mueller came to MSFC, includes a lot more individuals who were very opposed to the "All Up" concept and we basically came to the "conclusion" (don't remember if it was an official "position") that MSFC would recommend that the concept of "All Up" not be adopted. People like Mrazek, Geissler, Haeussermann also voiced objections -- in fact, I can't remember anyone who thought it was a "good idea" or "would work."

Frank Williams

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